Summary: The Tower of Pisa has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall. All because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.
Text: Matthew 7:24-27
Reading: Matthew 7:13-29
This weekend past saw the celebration of Independence Day, a time we take to celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we enjoy in our republic. As it happens I am currently in a philosophy class and I found myself part of a discussion about those freedoms and the rights of individuals to exercise those freedoms. I won’t drag you through all the details but ultimately the discussion reached the point where it was acknowledged that in our democratic system people are free to choose how they use the freedoms they are afforded, free even to choose poorly. And that brings us to our lesson for today which I’ve titled: Choose Wisely because just as we as Americans may choose to wisely or unwisely exercise our freedoms, we as Christians may do the same and some of those choices are illustrated in the parables taught by Jesus and recorded in the Gospels. For our lesson today we will focus on one in particular, the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders.
Opening Illust. In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot-tall tall. There was just one "little" problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt... and it continued to tilt... until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again. It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the "tilt." Foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall. All because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.
I. THE CONTEXT OF THIS PARABLE.
A. The parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders is part of the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount that begins at 7:13.
1. It is important to note that when Jesus begins this teaching He is speaking to disciples:
Matthew 5:1-2 “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them…”
2. As we reach the conclusion of this teaching we find three parables dealing with two choices:
a. Two gates, two destinies on the other side--life or destruction (7:13-14).
b. Two types of trees; those which bear good fruit and bad.
1) Don’t be deceived! (verses 15-20)
2) Know true Christians by their works.
c. Two foundations; one sound and one weak.
3. All three representing two types of Disciples of Christ, all illustrating the consequences of our choices.